The North Carolina Utilities Commission will be holding a series of six public hearings on Duke Energy's latest request for a rate increase. The first hearing will be held in Franklin on Tuesday, May 21, 7 PM at the Macon County courthouse, 5 W. Main Street, Courtroom A. A large public turnout is expected.
Duke Energy submitted this latest application for a rate increase before the Supreme Court of North Carolina struck down the rate increase granted by the Utilities Commission in 2012.
NC Attorney General Roy Cooper brought suit against the Utilities Commission decision last year, citing economic hardship for many of Duke Energy's customers.
Earlier this month the Utilities Commission rejected Duke Energy's 15-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), questioning whether the industry fully examined options for promoting policies that would reduce energy consumption and lead to a more rapid transformation to renewable energy technologies, resulting in lower energy costs for consumers. http://ncuc.commerce.state.nc.us/cgi-bin/webview/senddoc.pgm?itype=Q&parm2=QAAAAA32131B&parm3=000139578
Duke Energy's business plans are based on projections of endlessly growing energy demands and the construction of more coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants to meet those demands.
Implementing Duke's IRP is the basis for the series of rate increases requested over the past few years including the one this year.
The Canary Coalition and other opponents of the rate increase are arguing that the Utilities Commission should restructure utility rates rather than grant an across-the-board rate increase to Duke Energy. Programs in other states use a system of inverted, tiered-block rates that reward investments in energy efficiency with lower rates. The resulting reductions in energy consumption eliminate the need to finance the construction of new power plants. The Utilities Commission made reference to this type of rate structure in rejecting Duke's IRP.
Here is a schedule of the public hearings:
Franklin: May 21, 7:00 pm, Macon County Courthouse, 5 W. Main St., Courtroom A
Marion: May 22, 7:00 pm, McDowell County Courthouse, 21 S. Main St.
Winston-Salem: June 19, 7:00 pm, Forsyth County Courthouse, 200 N. Main St., Courtroom 1C
Charlotte: June 26, 6:00 pm, Mecklenburg County Courthouse, Courtroom 5310, 832 E. 4th St.
Hillsborough: July 2, 6:00 pm, Orange County Courthouse, 106 E. Margaret Lane
Raleigh: July 8, 1:00 pm, Dobbs Building, 430 N. Salisbury St., Rm. 2115